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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Despite the fact that over the past 10 years, successive Environmental Ministers in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada have concluded that Grizzly Bears face severe threats in the southern part of their range, they have lacked the political will to implement meaningful recovery plans for them................"The grizzly bear, perhaps the most potent symbol of Canada's wilderness spirit and character, deserves to be finally protected under Canada's Species at Risk Act"-----Jeff Gailus(Jeff Gailus is a the author of the just-released(Grizzly) report, Securing a National Treasure

Grizzly bear 



Opinion: Encroachment


 habitat in Western and


Canada threatens to

 push species

 into at-risk territory

Grizzly bear deserves protection

The grizzly bear deserves legal protection under Canada's Species at Risk Act, argues writer Jeff Gailus.

It's that time of the decade again, when Canadians
 and the federal politicians who represent them get a
 chance to safeguard the future of one of our most
 iconic wildlife species. Every 10 years, the Committee
 on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
(COSEWIC) carefully considers the most up-to-date
 science in its assessment of the status of Canada's
grizzly bear population and, after careful consideration
 and more than a little hand-wringing, comes up with a
 designation for the greatest of all Canadian bears.

Last time this happened, in 2002, COSEWIC found
grizzly bears in Western and Northern Canada faced
 a host of threats and uncertainties, and decided that,
 while not endangered, the grizzly was certainly a
 "species of special concern," especially in southern
 Alberta and B.C. "Bears living in portions of the
southern fringe of Canadian distribution are far from
secure from the consequences of burgeoning human
 populations and activities," COSEWIC warned in 2002.
 "The genetic and geographic continuity that now
prevents their identification as distinct population
 units is at risk …. Preventing the slow northward
migration of this line depends on active steps to
conserve these insular and peninsular populations."

But for some reason David Anderson, the Liberal
 environment minister at that time, decided against
 taking the next logical step: listing the grizzly under
 Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). His
successors in the Environment Ministry, both Liberal
and Conservatives, did the same and the species has
 sat in legal limbo, unprotected, for more than a decade
 under the watch of five different environment ministers.

Ten years later, COSEWIC has reached the same verdict.
Canada's grizzly bears face the same host of threats
 and uncertainties they did in 2002, and are the same
 "species of special concern" that deserve the federa
l protections afforded them under SARA.

"A number of populations in the southern extent of its
 range in Alberta and southern B.C. are known to be
declining," COSEWIC's 2012 report reads, and "their
 poor condition in some parts of the range, combined
 with their naturally low reproductive rates and increasing
 pressures of resource extraction and cumulative impacts
 in now intact parts of the range, heighten concern for this
 species if such pressures are not successfully reversed."

Anyone who has seen a grizzly (from a safe distance) in
 the Canadian wilderness, and who has likewise noticed
the inexorable march of subdivisions and cutblocks and
roads and oil rigs into once secure bear habitat, knows
 the grizzly bear deserves the protection of Canada's
 Species at Risk Act. This is particularly salient for the
small and increasingly isolated populations that hang
 on in western Alberta and southern B.C. Here,
increasing levels of industrial activity and urban sprawl,
 as well as the proliferation of roads that accompany
 them, continue to put at risk the future of these
 magnificent animals.

Wildlife management is largely a provincial responsibility,
 but Alberta and B.C. in particular have not made good
 on their promises over the past 30 years to maintain and
recover ailing grizzly bear populations. While more and
 better scientific studies have been conducted, the meaningful development and implementation of recovery plans has
 not followed suit.

Since the last COSEWIC assessment, B.C. has developed
 recovery plans for only one of its nine "threatened" grizzly
 bear populations, in the North Cascades, but has not
 implemented them. During the same period, new research
 found the grizzly bear population in the South Coast
 Mountains has been fragmented into several small
population isolates, some as small as 20 animals. One
 of these — in the Garibaldi-Pitt Grizzly Bear Population
 Unit just north of Vancouver — has all but disappeared.
 And yet industrial and urban development in grizzly bear
habitat continues apace, increasing the risk of further declines.

In Alberta, research conducted since 2002 indicates the
 grizzly bear population in Canada's wealthiest province is
considerably smaller, and considerably more at risk, than
 anyone knew.

Just 700 grizzlies roam the industrialized forests of Alberta's
mountains and foothills. Even Banff National Park, which
 should be a safe haven, has become a graveyard for the
 bears. The grizzly was listed as a threatened species in
Alberta, but the recovery plan adopted in 2009 has largely
been ignored in favour of business as usual.

Given the severity of current threats to the grizzly's survival,
and lack of action at the provincial level, it is imperative that
 Canada's Conservative government list the grizzly bear on
Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. There are ample
 precedents for such a decision, the most notable of which
 is the decision by the current Environment Minister Pete
r Kent to add the polar bear (also designated as a "species
 of special concern" by COSEWIC) to Schedule 1 in 2011.

The grizzly bear, perhaps the most potent symbol of
 Canada's wilderness spirit and character, deserves to
 be finally protected under Canada's Species at Risk Act.

Jeff Gailus is a the author of the just-released report,
 Securing a National Treasure. Originally from Alberta,
 Gailus now lives in Missoula, Mont.

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